Catholics are divided on whether or not the Church should adapt its teachings to modern opinions, particularly when it comes to homosexuality
The Extraordinary Synod called by Pope Francis has ended without any conclusive decisions. Bishops' walked back from initial statements that had marked the most welcoming and accepting language yet used towards homosexual and divorced Catholics by the Vatican. The Pope, who has repeatedly called for a more welcoming Church, ended the conference by warning against "hostile inflexibility" on the part of conservatives.
The latest research from YouGov shows that the opinions of Catholics differ significantly according to how regularly they worship. 54% of Catholics who attend church services at least once a month say that the Church should continue to hold its teachers regardless of the opinions of most Catholics. When it comes to less frequently practising Catholics, that is people who say that they are Catholic but attend services at most a few times a year, most (55%) say that the Church should adapt its teachings to reflect the opinions of most Catholics.
Asking Catholics specifically about the two issues that Pope Francis has prioritized in the recent synod, divorce and homosexuality, attitudes tend to be more favorable towards relaxing the teachings of the Holy Mother Church. Most Catholics, regardless of whether they are practicing or not, say that the Church should relax its approach to divorce. Most non-practicing Catholics (57%) also say that the Church should ease its approach to homosexuality, something that most practicing Catholics (52%) disagree with.
The reluctance of regularly practising Catholics to endorse a relaxation of the Church's teachings on homosexuality is, in large part, explained by the fact that 60% of practicing Catholics say that it is morally unacceptable to be homosexual. When it comes to non-practicing Catholics, however, just under half of them (49%) reject the Church's teachings on homosexuality and say that it is morally acceptable to be homosexual.
The overwhelming majority of non-practicing Catholics (69%) say that divorce is morally acceptable, something practicing Catholics (42%) tend to agree with.
Full poll results can be found here.